"I read in a Sunday paper once a claim from a department head at one of our TV broadcasters that the function of drama was to bring humour into a confused world. I've always thought that was the function of present-day parliamentary politics. Of course, the higher up you go in TV, the more simplistic and self-serving the declarations. Drama has a number of functions, the consolation of humour certainly being one. But the necessity of truth is another. We all know that historically theatres could be closed in times of political crisis, because they were places where people gathered to listen to and argue about what was going on. Maybe our bigger theatres need to recapture that sense of the seriousness of their mission."

Dean Parker grew up in Napier, New Zealand.  In his 20s, he spent time in London where he began a long involvement in socialist and Irish republican movements.  He has worked as a writer for much of his life and been prominent in his union, the New Zealand Writers Guild. On his return to New Zealand he began writing for radio in 1973. By 1975, five of his radio plays had hit the airwaves - including drama Smack, which doubled as his stage debut. Seven more radio plays followed before 1980.   His first television work was an episode of mixed-flatting comedy Buck House, and two contributions to anthology series 30 Minute Theatre. In 1978 his first screen adaptation for The Ngaio Marsh Theatre was the first Kiwi TV drama to screen in the United States.

Dean Parker's plays include The Man That Lovelock Couldn't Beat, Baghdad, Baby!, Midnight in Moscow, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem and adaptations of Great Expectations, The Trial, The Hollow Men and Other People's Wars. 

Amongst his screenwork, he has won awards in New Zealand for tele-play Share the Dream (starring Joel Tobeck), and co-writing successful big-screen comedy Came a Hot Friday, 1985 film centred around two conmen in small town New Zealand, which was adapted from the novel by Ronald Hugh Morrieson.

His theatrical CV includes The Feds, Two Fingers From Frank Zappa. He has also written many radio plays, among them Joe Stalin Knew My Father and Engels F: A History of the Ould Sod.

Dean's best-known television work is Welsh-Kiwi rugby tale Old Scores, which he co-wrote with Greg McGee. He has also worked on episodes of police drama Mortimer's Patch, Betty's Bunch, and documentary Just Slightly, A People Apart: The Irish in NZ.

Dean also contributes to the New Zealand Listener and the New Zealand Herald.

He lives in Auckland with partner Isabel. They have one son, Emmet.


...the politics of successful plays are not decided before the chanting march commences. They come from the hearts of fragile, searching characters.
Born Napier, New Zealand
Began writing for radio
Writers' Guild delegate FOL/CTU
Listener Film and Television Awards, Best Screenplay - Adaptation (shared with Ian Mune): for Came A Hot Friday
New Zealand Film Awards, Best Film Screenplay (shared with Greg McGee): for Old Scores
TV Guide Television Awards, Best Television Drama Script: for Share the Dream
Editorial board Saoirse, 1980s, 1990s. Editorial board Workers' Charter, 2005-2008
Qantas Film and Television Awards, Nominated for Best Screenplay - Film: for Life's A Riot
Arts Foundation Laureate Award